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David Field talks with CKNW’s Sean Leslie

March 2, 2011

Our thanks to CKNW’s Sean Leslie for having our BCCGE co-spokesperson, David Field, as a guest on his show last Sunday afternoon.  It was a great segment if we do say so ourselves. 

If you happen to have missed the show you can listen to an archived copy of the broadcast from CKNW’s Audio Vault by clicking here

The topic of Sunday afternoon’s show was BC Hydro’s $6 billion, three-year “regeneration plan” which is intended to significantly upgrade the crown utility’s aging electricity generating and transmission infrastructure. 

BCCGE fully supports BC Hydro’s plan and we publicly applauded it in a media release last week.  As David said in the release, BC Hydro’s major reinvestment in the province’s public electricity infrastructure is long overdue and well-warranted.

On the show, Sean Leslie himself commented on pictures of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam near Mission, which were shown on TV newscasts, saying: “That thing, it just looks ancient; it’s got moss everywhere, the concrete is crumbling.” 

Leslie also talked about an email he received from a listener who said the gates on the Ruskin dam were leaking when he (the listener) first saw it back in 1953.

Of course, as Sean Leslie pointed out, The NDP are “crying foul” about BC Hydro’s regeneration plan because it’s going to result in an increase in BC Hydro’s rates.  We think that’s shortsighted on the part of the NDP.

As David pointed out, residential electricity rates in B.C. are currently among the lowest in North America and they’ve been kept artificially low, in part, by postponing the kind of costly overhauling and updating of the province’s aging generating and transmission infrastructure proposed in BC Hydro’s plan. 

As David also pointed out (in our media release and on Sean Leslie’s show) the NDP froze hydro rates during the 1990s and cut BC Hydro off from the financial resources needed to keep the province’s dams and transmission lines in A-1 shape.

BCCGE certainly isn’t applauding a rate hike (as Sean Leslie quite rightly noted on the show).  Far from it.

What we are applauding is the plan to upgrade the vital infrastructure BC Hydro needs to have in place in order to meet the public’s current and future demands for clean, reliable electricity.  And that’s going to cost money to accomplish.

The bottom line is that the bulk of our hydroelectric infrastructure in B.C. was built in the decades following the Second World War and it’s showing its age. 

If we want to keep the lights on in our province over the next 50 years and beyond, we need to reinvest in our aging hydroelectric infrastructure and bring it up to 21st century standards.  There’s no getting around this basic fact.

Again, if you missed the show, click here to listen to an archived copy of the broadcast from CKNW’s Audio Vault.

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